Making your own journal gives you exactly what you want. It’s also fun, keeps you really busy for a while, and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Today I’m starting a series of journals I’m calling Mutants. A few weeks ago, I made a journal from a Trader Joe’s Lemon Cookie box, but I hadn’t thought of the Mutant idea yet.
I’m calling them Mutant Journals because they will all be made out of unusual materials, have different papers, have a theme, or some other odd idea I come up with.
The first Mutant journal is the cookie journal, shown below, on the right. I owe it. It was the first one and it gave me the idea to make more.
The second Mutant journal started when I got my Container Store catalog. On the back cover was a photo of shelf liner made out of natural fibers. There were three colors–a pale beige with a stripe, a dark cinnamon, and a dark-and-light mix. I called the local store, and they had them. In two hours, I had three rolls. The paper is stitched, which makes it flexible. It feels like a lightweight placemat, and you can cut it.
It was on sale for about $5.00 for a roll that is 12 inches wide and 5 feet long. That’s enough for several odd-sized journals. I decided to use the fiber to cover both the outside and the inside cover, both front and back.
Using a piece of bookboard measuring 7.5 inches x 5.0 inches, I placed the two pieces of bookboard side by side, leaving a small gap. The gap makes the book close comfortably if the signature (the folded pages) are thick. They were going to be.
I’m not interested in making complicated bindings, I’m happy enough with a pamphlet stitch. I don’t want to feel pressured to fill huge journals. I’d rather fill one quickly, so I can make another one. That’s more fun.
Once the fiber covered both sides of both covers (this was one piece, the joy of a 5-foot roll), I was going to have a journal that looked the same front and back. Using strips of inked papers I had from another project, I created a weaving for the front. The bright colors make a good foil for the soft-striped cover.
Inside, the paper is largely Arches Text Wove. There is a sheet (two pages, four sides) of a great Japanese rice paper with a brown background and bright red, yellow and gold flowers stamped on it. There is another sheet of braille paper, which makes great texture.
This one was fine. It’s still empty, well, except for the page that already has four dried petals from my orchids in it. The next cover is already made. I can’t wait to finish it.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist. She is writing Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art, which will be published in June of 2011.